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Old April 14 2013, 12:14 AM   #1
Shaka Zulu
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Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Why did I write an episode of Mad Men with Negroes? And by that I mean with “Negro” characters in it, not with.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anyway, why did I write an episode of TV that I know will never be made?

Though I work as an actress and have pitched and sold a television series or two in my time in Hollywood, I’m not a writer on Mad Men, so this episode won’t appear anywhere but here. Why, then? And why negroes? Aren’t we finished with all that? In honor of the Season 6 premiere, let me tell you about it.

I like Mad Men. A lot. I like the subject matter (advertising); I like the cast (Don Draper is hot); I like the look (sexy Eames meets Op Art); I like the writing (Matthew Weiner is a storytelling beast). I love the writing.What do you think?

I have only one issue with Mad Men (OK, with a bunch of shows, but let’s stick with this one): I’d love to see more diversity. I’m a Black actress, so diversity is an issue that comes up for me. A lot. Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, Girls, Veep–these are cool shows, except for the fact that they would really rock with more people of color, series regulars or otherwise. I complain, wtf?…and bemoan, WTF!…but alas, for all my years in TV, I’m not able to make a difference in my own living room. Or am I?
Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes

The script in question: MAD-MEN-UPTOWN-SATURDAY-NIGHT
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Old April 14 2013, 01:17 AM   #2
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Game of Thrones is set thousands of years in the future on another planet, that considering the erratic orbit around the sun, might not even be a planet... Winter could just be the time the biosphere spends inbetween solar systems... If it's real that is, and not VR. I was thinking that winter was about preserving power when the ship is too far away form a power supply (sun) but it might just be a method of thinning the human stock when they become too plentiful for the ships resources to maintain.

The only thing that kept black people back and white people white up to this point is racism. Now that it is LESS culturally offensive for people to stray from expectations, white people are going to get darker and Black people are going to get lighter until the white people are black and the black people are white and they all start again from opposite sides.
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Old April 14 2013, 01:59 AM   #3
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
Game of Thrones is set thousands of years in the future on another planet, that considering the erratic orbit around the sun, might not even be a planet... Winter could just be the time the biosphere spends inbetween solar systems... If it's real that is, and not VR. I was thinking that winter was about preserving power when the ship is too far away form a power supply (sun) but it might just be a method of thinning the human stock when they become too plentiful for the ships resources to maintain.

The only thing that kept black people back and white people white up to this point is racism. Now that it is LESS culturally offensive for people to stray from expectations, white people are going to get darker and Black people are going to get lighter until the white people are black and the black people are white and they all start again from opposite sides.
Funny as usual.
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Old April 14 2013, 02:53 AM   #4
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

There was no diversity in the era of Mad Men. Does that really need to be said? Unless you set it in an alt universe, just no.
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Old April 14 2013, 03:22 AM   #5
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Maybe there's a basement office where all a host of negros do all the work for the agency, because between the alcoholism and constant sexual exploitating, our heroes don't have time to do their jobs, but the black kids down stairs need a believable front so all the kids of the old cotton barons will give their company all the money, so it's like a symbiotic relationship where everyone wins?
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Old April 14 2013, 03:52 AM   #6
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

My first thought when reading this...if Mad Men had more "people of color" (what an obnoxious phrase) in it, wouldn't people just complain about the show portraying a way of thinking that we are supposedly beyond now?

And I've never understood how seeing your own ethnicity/race in a production somehow makes it better. But maybe that's just me?
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Old April 14 2013, 04:56 AM   #7
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

In fact, at least one major U.S. corporation made a concerted effort to court black consumers and hired a black advertising executive and sales staff for that purpose -- not in the 1960s, but even earlier, in the 1940s.

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Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
The only thing that kept black people back and white people white up to this point is racism. Now that it is LESS culturally offensive for people to stray from expectations, white people are going to get darker and Black people are going to get lighter until the white people are black and the black people are white and they all start again from opposite sides.
Oh. Kind of like Dr. Seuss' Sneetches, I guess.
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Old April 14 2013, 05:08 AM   #8
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

I 100% agree with her on all those shows except Mad Men. Mad Men is about the rich, entitled pricks in business at the time and those were largely white men along with a few white women thrown in.
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Old April 14 2013, 06:07 AM   #9
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

scotpens wrote: View Post
In fact, at least one major U.S. corporation made a concerted effort to court black consumers and hired a black advertising executive and sales staff for that purpose -- not in the 1960s, but even earlier, in the 1940s.

Link


Guy Gardener wrote: View Post
The only thing that kept black people back and white people white up to this point is racism. Now that it is LESS culturally offensive for people to stray from expectations, white people are going to get darker and Black people are going to get lighter until the white people are black and the black people are white and they all start again from opposite sides.
Oh. Kind of like Dr. Seuss' Sneetches, I guess.
Totally, or Blue Mink.
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Old April 14 2013, 06:41 AM   #10
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Australis wrote: View Post
There was no diversity in the era of Mad Men.


That's not my recollection of the period. There were plenty of minorities around, you just didn't see them in the mainstream media. Mad Men is supposed to partially be a portrayal of the era in which it is set, not a portrayal of the media of the era in which it is set.
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Old April 14 2013, 06:52 AM   #11
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Tosk wrote: View Post
And I've never understood how seeing your own ethnicity/race in a production somehow makes it better. But maybe that's just me?
Mostly just you, I expect. In addition to being more true to life, it certainly does make a difference to see people who look like you, or act like you, on screen.

sidious618 wrote: View Post
I 100% agree with her on all those shows except Mad Men. Mad Men is about the rich, entitled pricks in business at the time and those were largely white men along with a few white women thrown in.
Agreed.

Now, they could have created plot lines that would have placed the characters in more diverse situations, and they certainly could have covered the Civil Rights Movement in more depth, but I don't have much of a problem with the way they're depicting the era. Hell, I was born in the 80's and my high school was whiter than SCDP is.

That said, any other show taking place in NYC that goes weeks at a time showing only white people? Insane.
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Old April 14 2013, 09:29 AM   #12
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

OP, please in future provide a little commentary or opinion if your own rather than just copy pasting from elsewhere and reproducing it here, as per the pinned rules at the top of the forum.

Many thanks.
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Old April 14 2013, 10:16 AM   #13
Shaka Zulu
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

IndyJones wrote: View Post
Tosk wrote: View Post
And I've never understood how seeing your own ethnicity/race in a production somehow makes it better. But maybe that's just me?
Mostly just you, I expect. In addition to being more true to life, it certainly does make a difference to see people who look like you, or act like you, on screen.

sidious618 wrote: View Post
I 100% agree with her on all those shows except Mad Men. Mad Men is about the rich, entitled pricks in business at the time and those were largely white men along with a few white women thrown in.
Agreed.

Now, they could have created plot lines that would have placed the characters in more diverse situations, and they certainly could have covered the Civil Rights Movement in more depth, but I don't have much of a problem with the way they're depicting the era. Hell, I was born in the 80's and my high school was whiter than SCDP is.

That said, any other show taking place in NYC that goes weeks at a time showing only white people? Insane.
Indeed.

Now, they need to start showing how ad agencies courted the Afro-American consumer in the 1960's (which did happen with the selling of a certain brand of malt liquor around 1966.) That, and the realization that other type of products need to be targeted to Afro-Americans as well.
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Old April 14 2013, 01:27 PM   #14
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

I'm pretty sure that part of the appeal of Mad Men is going back to more manly times, as well as whiter times. Certainly, insofar as Mad Men is about Don Draper, rather than about advertising, much less the US in the Sixties, there is no excuse for the monochromatic society.
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Old April 14 2013, 01:36 PM   #15
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Re: Why I Wrote A Mad Men Episode With Negroes, by Erika Alexander

Were there advertising agencies in the 1960s which only had white people working there? If the answer is 'no' then she has a valid point to make. If the answer is 'yes' then not so much.
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